You may qualify for additional monthly disability benefits if you are a widow or a surviving divorced spouse.


Under certain circumstances, a disabled widow or widower of an insured wage earner may receive benefits on the deceased spouse’s earnings record. To obtain these benefits you must meet the following criteria:

1. You are a surviving spouse (of at least 9 months of marriage); and,
2. You are between the ages of 50 and 60; and,
3. You did not remarry before the age of 50; and,
4. You became disabled within 7 years of becoming a widow or widower.

Additionally, your spouse must have been fully insured for Title II benefits at the time of his or her death. Remember, you must still prove that you are disabled. If you are over 60 years old then there is no requirement of disability and you are eligible for widow’s benefits.


You can potentially receive benefits as a surviving divorced spouse on the Social Security earnings record of a former spouse who died fully insured if you meet the following requirements:

1. You are between 50 and 60 on the awarded alleged onset date; and,
2. You were married to your former spouse for at least 10 years; and,
3. Your former spouse is deceased; and,
4. You have not remarried before the age of 50; and,
5. You are not entitled to a higher Social Security benefit based on your own work record.

Be sure you notify your attorney if you fall into one of these categories. The Social Security Administration does not take responsibility for getting you the maximum monthly benefit rate.

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